With the first two seasons on Netflix and the third season just premiering this week, now is the best time to catch up with the 100!
Almost a century after a nuclear war wiped out human life on earth, the survivors in space make a risky move to save the colonies when they discover their space station is running out of air. Their decision? Send one hundred of their juvenile delinquents in lockup to earth to see if life is sustainable and to buy them more time. When the kids get to the ground, they celebrate their newfound freedom with wild abandon until they realize they’re not the only ones there.
Not interested yet? Here are 5 reasons why this show is one of MY all-time favourite shows.
1) Yeah, it’s a CW show about teens in a post-apocalyptic landscape…
But it’s so much more than that, especially after the first couple of episodes. I’ve never been one to condemn a show based on the pilot or the first quarter of the season because everybody’s got to have a learning curve. Writers are creating a world without really knowing the actors that play their characters or how their chemistries work on camera. The show moves past the annoying CW-esque teen angst and love triangles by focusing on more interesting and complicated things like morality and survival.I find that in most cases with CW type shows, strongly written female characters suffer from forced/needless love triangles and drama. As soon as that becomes a possibility in the 100, the main character (Clarke Griffin) shuts it down immediately because that’s not important in the grand scheme of things. It’s basically Battlestar Galactica meets Lord of the Flies with really, really attractive young people as your Ralph and Jack.
2) Cause and Effect and Character Development
With only thirteen episodes in the first season, the 100 does an amazing job of building an intricate and thoughtful post-apocalyptic world and having the main players of the series have some really heavy decisions. There is a lot at stake for the people of the Ark and the hundred on the ground and their decisions have devastating effects on one another. A child’s shocking act in episode three will change the dynamic between Clarke and her rival leader Bellamy forever. Bellamy makes a selfish decision on the ground that puts hundreds of people at risk on the Ark. All of these actions have consequences, and the show’s writers aren’t afraid to go to those places and follow through.
I am far more drawn to television series over movies because I love getting to really know characters over time. Having a show that explores, not just cause and effect, but also how those actions have long-term effects on characters is also a real treat.
3) It has the best parts of the Walking Dead and Game of Thrones…
…Without needless hyper violent scenes with gore and/or rape. The show might start off with a hundred kids landing on an uninhabited earth but from there it organically grew into a show that’s on par with cable shows like TWD and GoT. I’d even go to say that it goes further.
There are different versions of zero-tolerance policies and each culture believes the others’ to be more savage than theirs. It’s multi-cultural without drawing attention to it. Sexuality is also quite fluid in the show and because this is the future and there are other things to worry about (like, I don’t know… surviving?), there’s no need to devote useless time towards a “coming out” process.
In this sci-fi/post-apocalyptic show, there is no room for sexism. Women and men are treated as equal and the writing is so much stronger for not resorting to turning women into plot devices/scape goats/helpless victims.
4) Speaking of female characters…
I got my sister to watch this show over the Christmas break and she asked me why the male characters were so useless when the women were so amazing and I laughed. Let’s get a look at just a FEW of them from season 1:
Octavia Blake: This bright-eyed character is so much more than the pretty mean girl you see in the pilot. She is a hurricane that was somehow living in a cage for most of her life. Now that she’s on the ground, no one will keep her trap, not even her beloved, if not overprotective, brother Bellamy. Octavia’s growth throughout the series is not a surprise but it’s still super satisfying to see it play out. She’s a warrior at heart and while that puts her largely outside of the leadership role, she’s still vital in connecting her people (the Sky People) with the people on the ground.
Raven Reyes: While the hundred are on the ground, Raven is hard at work up on the Ark as the station’s youngest Zero-G mechanic. I love Raven. She’s tough, incredibly smart, and she’s got snark. She’s also a great role model for young teenage girls who want to go into the sciences. Raven’s young and she’s taken seriously as the resident expert. Like I said before, this show doesn’t adopt the ridiculous gendered notions that pervade most of our society and it’s great to see women be warriors, leaders, and mechanics too. Raven goes through so much in the second season and I can’t tell you much without spoiling it but trials she goes through definitely adds a lot of depth to her character.
Abby Griffin: Abby isn’t one of the 100. She’s actually one of the people on the Ark that decides to send the hundred kids down to Earth, not knowing for sureif it’s still survivable. If that doesn’t sound cold enough, her daughter Clarke is one of the hundred sent down. Abby’s reasons are made pretty clear in the first couple of episodes. As the chief medical officer and a council member, she is a pretty important authority figure on the Ark. Her relationships with other female characters make for some of the best dynamics.
These are just a few of the prominent and powerful female characters on the show and the fact that there are even more than this list is, sadly, a little miracle and a revelation. There’s one character I purposefully left off the list though.
5) Because Clarke Griffin…
Deserves her own damn section. Clarke Griffin starts off in the series as a know-it-all wet blanket to the rest of the kids’ fun but we soon find that that attitude is entirely justified. They land on the ground and the first thing that Clarke does is to try and get food for everybody. These kids are the last hope for the people on the Ark and almost nobody but Clarke seems to realize this.
The pilot introduces a lot of familiar YA tropes and at first, Clarke seems like one of them. She is a privileged “princess” who wears her heart on her sleeve. As the show goes on, we get to know Clarke as a ruthless leader, a loyal friend, a dangerous ally, and an optimistic pragmatic. Clarke gets the chance to make terrible mistakes and learn from them, really learn from them. She’s an authority figure that others look to, even if they don’t want to. Although she is reluctant to lead, she will because she’s the only one who can.
Clarke is a very unique young heroine. Although she does have a moral compass, she doesn’t stay sitting on a self-righteous high horse. She learns to navigate the world and survives it by being manipulative and pragmatic. She will do whatever it takes to save her people.
When I started writing this list, I quickly realized that I could easily give a list of twenty or thirty reasons for why you should start watching the 100. For now, I’ll just start with these five and hope that’s enough for you guys to give this amazing show a try.